We’re often asked if collaborative partners have to be motivated by the same things — or at least have the same end goal in mind for the collaboration. We think that the answer to that is No, not necessarily.
We have interviewed many people about their collaboration experiences. One question we asked is “What criteria do you use to choose a collaborator?” One person, whose job is facilitating community collaborations, said she looks at her organization’s “ethical manner of doing business and the directives that are given to us. I usually look for alignments in collaborators mission, values and purpose. So I probably won’t collaborate with a gun association. However, I might if it were to prevent gun injuries. You have to do a balancing act. What is it that we can both wrap our arms around? Look for the points that you can all agree on.”
So even though it can be nice to share similar motivations and goals, the overall goals of each party don’t have to match. It is important that the end goals are not at cross-purposes.
Another example is when my husband brought disparate political parties together to identify and collaborate on the initiatives where they agreed.
Have you been agile enough to collaborate with people who have different motivations and end points?
Watch for our next blog post to see a fun exploration of collaborators who have different motivations.